As we return to golf, competitions will hopefully soon resume and in this blog we’ll look at how you can mentally prepare yourself for the pressures that a round of golf can bring.

Whether you’re having the round of your life, or a round to forget somewhere across your 18 holes you’ll be met with some kind of pressure, on the tee or on the green either from yourself or your playing partners.

Now, if you’re anything like me, this pressure often causes tee shots to be sliced, putts to be left short, and a long walk to retrieve my thrown club. But what can you do in these situations to prepare yourself when the temperature rises?

Centre yourself.

Based around removing the negative thoughts and focusing on the shot at hand, centering is a way of maintaining composure and retaining control of the situation, no matter the occasion.

How Do I Do It?

There are 4 key steps to centering yourself and they are crucial in removing distractions and executing the intended shot.

  1. Replace negative thoughts surrounding the shot at hand with a positive one; e.g. turn “this is a long putt” into “I’ve made these putts before”
  2. Centre your attention, focus internally on the shot at hand; how will the putt feel? How will you swing the putter to ensure you sink the putt?
  3. Begin to focus externally on the shot, what do you need to account for; how are the greens running? What breaks are in the green and this putt?
  4. Execute the shot. When you’re ready, take the putt, be sure not to overthink the shot, and prepare for execution as soon as you feel physically and mentally ready.

 

Can I just use it?

As with any psychological techniques, these must be worked on individually as it may take more time not only to implement into your game, but also to execute.

With more important shots it may take more time to centre yourself, and with different types of shots, for example a tee shot may take less time than a putt. Therefore it is important to understand how you centre yourself and how long it takes you.

To find out more

For more psychology resources visit psych-chek. To learn more about the effects of centering, have a read of this research using it in ice hockey. Although it’s a different sport, the same principles can apply.

Expect the unexpected

 

Ahhh, you’re back on the course. After being locked down you’re stood on the first tee box again, a tricky hole, and one you’ve struggled with in the past, lots of danger on the right, and red stakes lining the fairway. Perfect.

 

You’re lacking confidence and not sure what to expect. Bang, the dreaded slice returns, your ball sails out of bounds and before you know it, you’re three off the tee. But how can your thoughts before the shot influence this dreaded start to a round?

 

Your expectations before a shot can have major influence not only on your mental game, raising or lowering anxiety or confidence, but also your physical game, with the ability to loosen or stiffen your body as a result. Therefore it is important to manage your expectations throughout your round, importantly before every shot.

The theory behind expectations

Expectations are a combination of both your perception of the task or shot at hand, and also what you put this down to. Are the factors influencing the outcome of your shot within your control or not? What have you put your performances down to in the past and how do these translate into future performances?

 

Let’s start with your success. When you have a good round what do you put this down to? Is it something stable, like your ability or do you put it down to something unstable, like a few lucky shots? If you put it down to your ability you naturally become more self-confident in your ability, you believe that you can continue these performances going forward and you’re well on your way to lowering your handicap. If, however, you put it down to luck on the course, you retain humility, understanding that although you must be improving, your success isn’t guaranteed next time.

 

By the same token your failures can also be put into these two brackets, if you have a bad round and begin to relate it to your ability, you can reduce your confidence and expect to play the next round, or certain holes poorly based on these experiences. An often preferred attribution is something unstable, if you feel you were unlucky with a few putts or chips you can protect your confidence, and you understand that next time you play, you might get a lucky bounce, or play the hole in a better way.

 

It is unhealthy for an athlete to lean too heavily one way or another. The athlete must be able to praise themselves when it is deserved, and understand that they have hit an excellent shot, however this mustn’t go to their heads. Similarly, if you hit a bad shot, don’t be too critical on yourself, golf is full of factors you’re unable to control, particularly as we’re in the midst of the winter months, with poor ground, and even worse conditions, but you must also be able to take responsibility when it’s warranted.

Closing thoughts

As we’ve mentioned, it is unhealthy to lean too far in your attributions. Don’t be afraid to congratulate yourself if you hit the shot of your life, and don’t be too critical if you hit a poor shot, we’re all capable of it…me more than most apparently…

 

But take your previous experiences and use them to benefit your future rounds, don’t step up to the tee and be petrified of hitting a poor shot, just because you did last time. This time will be different, step up, take a deep breath, and bomb it down the middle.

 

To find out more

 

For more psychology resources visit psych-chek. To learn more about altering your attributions within golf make sure to give this a read.

Setting the scene

We’ve all been there, sliced a tee shot, three of the tee, and you’re annoyed at yourself. Mentally berating yourself, how could you be so stupid, you know how to hit a straight tee shot, why can’t you do it?!…anybody?…just me?…well, this is awkward….

 

Either way, I know how frustrating it is to be like this, and whether it isn’t you personally, you definitely know someone like it. So what exactly can you do to help yourself?

 

Talk to yourself. No, seriously, hear me out…

 

Positive self-talk is a technique that has been used by athletes for years and to be most effective the self-talk should be short and sharp, you don’t want to overcomplicate things, particularly if your performance is already dwindling. Additionally, by associating the self-talk to the skill, and using it before the skill you can mentally and physically prepare for the shot you’re about to hit.

 

Types of talk

It has been suggested that there are three categories of self-talk that can be implemented into your game depending on the situation in which you find yourself in.

 

  • The first category of self-talk is technique related, within this you use keywords or a phrase that mentions how you’re about to perform your shot. For example; when hitting the driver, the word “rotate” will remind you to rotate the hips through your whole swing.

 

  • The second is encouragement, the one that I use the most. When you’ve hit a bad shot, and don’t want to get bogged down with potentially negative swing thoughts. Something simple like “you’ve made this putt before” reinforces to yourself that you can perform the skill, and will perform it successfully this time.

 

  • The final category is mood words. These are specific words that mentally prepare you for the skill you’re about to perform. These words can affect your mood and your physical response to the shot. For example saying the word “smash” before hitting your driver or “gently” before hitting a putt can evoke a physical reaction.

Closing thoughts

Effectively using self-talk within your game you can not only increase performances but also confidence when hitting shots whilst reducing your anxiety, perfect for those first tee nerves! As with any addition to your game it will take time to implement with benefits not necessarily being immediately noticeable.

 

It should be mentioned that self-talk doesn’t have to be said out loud, if you’d prefer to look a little more sane, the words can have the same impact if you say them in your head. At the end of the day it comes down to personal preferences and what works for you, don’t be afraid to say the odd word out loud if it helps you shoot a better score!

 

With all this in mind it is important you gradually work on adding it in, don’t overload yourself with swing thoughts or too much information. Take time to link the correct words with the corresponding shots starting at the driving range before heading to the course.

 

To find out more

For more psychology resources visit psych-chek. This research paper gives you an insight to the use of self-talk to improve performance.

“Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.” Vince Lombardi

We’ve all been there, a ropey round of golf with a variety of miss hits and a LOT of balls lost, right…? But all is not lost, surely all you really need is a bucket of balls on the range hitting that damn driver and you will magically solve all your problems! Fool-proof.

Whilst you’re on the range, you do hit a few good ones that convince you that you’re cured, but then, you step up to the first tee, and BANG, another lost ball.

So why doesn’t this perfection on the range translate onto the course?

It may have something to do with the face that consistently hitting 50 – 100 drivers in succession isn’t what you’d do on the course! So with that in mind how can you best utilise your time on the range in order to reduce your handicap and get back to, maybe, enjoying golf?

 

Practice with purpose!

Different practice types are beneficial for different levels of golfer, and unfortunately there’s no firm guide on when you should change your practice type, so use your judgement, but if you see no benefit, don’t be afraid to try a different type of practice.

There are typically three main practice types, blocked, serial and random and as aforementioned use your own judgement when deciding which is best for you. It is important to leave your ego in the car, practice according to your actual ability, not the ability you want. If you practice enough and with real intent, your handicap will come tumbling down!

 

Practice Types

Blocked Practice

Blocked practice is repeating the same shot with the same club over and over again, learning the movement and grooving it to your tailored needs. For example hitting 50 – 100 drivers in a row.

 

Serial Practice

Hitting a variety of clubs / shots but in a set sequence, reducing how often you hit the same club and making it more round specific. For example, hitting your driver, 7 iron, sand wedge and repeating these shots in this order.

 

Random Practice

Hitting set clubs in no particular order, making it the most round specific practice, practicing as though you were playing and adapting after each shot. For example hitting driver, 7 iron, sand wedge, driver, 9 iron, 6 iron.

Making the most of your practice

Whatever practice method you choose, make your range time as round specific as possible. Go through your pre shot routine and imagery before every shot, if you’re unsure of how to implement these then head over to my previous blogs (yes, two shameless plugs in one sentence!) to learn more about these techniques.

By doing this, you will mentally and physically ready yourself for every shot; this will translate onto the course with your body knowing when you’re about to swing. This, implemented with your best suited practice method, will work together to help you not only groove your swing, but also increase repeatability of the swing.

 

Conclusion

In order to best utilise your practice time you have to be realistic with where you’re at with your game. Doing this will help you best select the practice method you need and your time at the range will be more beneficial when you do.

Don’t just think hitting a bucket of drivers is exactly what you need, you may be at a level where you need to hit a variety of clubs to see the most improvements in your game.

 

To find out more

For more psychology resources visit psych-chek. To learn more about the different practice types and how you can use it in accordance to your skill level make sure to give this a read.

I never hit a shot, not even in practice, without having a very sharp, in-focus picture of it in my head. It’s like a colour movie. First I ‘see’ where I want it to finish, nice and white and sitting up high on the bright green grass. Then the scene quickly changes and I ‘see’ the ball going there: its path, trajectory, and shape, even its behavior on landing. Then there is this sort of fadeout, and the next scene shows me making the kind of swing that will turn the previous images to reality. – Jack Nicklaus

 

How many times do you step up to a shot with a vague idea of what you want to happen, before duffing your shot, whether it be a top, chunk, slice or hook, it just doesn’t go to plan…? If you’re anything like me, too often!

But what can you implement into your game, before hitting your shot to both slow down the pre-routine and have more confidence in the shot you’re about to play?

One thing utilised by the best players in the world is imagery. Now this comes down to the individual but it has been shown to aid players with both performance and their confidence going into a shot.

What is imagery?

Imagery is the visualisation or mental rehearsal of the skill you’re about to perform, players utilise all of their senses to picture both the execution and the outcome of the shot. For example, visualising the line your ball must go on when putting, feeling the swing tempo, hearing the ball hit the bottom of the cup. In doing this you will approach the shot with more confidence, and be more likely to execute the skill.

Imagery is a skill which isn’t a quick fix. It must be learned and tailored to your personal game. You cannot just be put into your game and expect it to work. Golfers like Tiger Woods have been using imagery from a young age. He’s been visualising every shot taken and the exact position he wants the ball to go. He’s not had a bad career so who are we to argue with him?

 

Implementing Imagery

The best time to start using imagery is in practice, as aforementioned you can’t expect it to just work. Utilise these key tips to try and best implement it into your game.

  • Remember: Whenever you visualise shot execution, picture yourself full of confidence, executing the shot to the best of your ability.
  • Initially start with short images of the skill execution and the goal in mind, trying to be as situation specific as possible at the driving range. This may be hitting a certain flag/target on the range, or sinking a certain length putt on the putting green.
  • Stay as relaxed as possible, with steady breathing talking yourself through the ideal shot, for a more vivid image.
    • What can you see?
      • The flag you’re aiming for, the ball flight as it heads on the target line
    • What can you feel?
      • Feel a smooth, powerful swing, the ball hits the centre of the face
    • What can you hear?
      • A good ball, club face connection
    • Don’t be worried if it takes a long time to pick up. Don’t rush between shots. On the course you’d never hit a shot, and then immediately hit another, so don’t rush when you’re visualising. Give yourself the best chance for it to work and take your time.

 

Closing comments

Imagery can be used by every level of golfer, from the elite PGA tour pros to novices, however, it isn’t for everyone. Don’t be afraid if it doesn’t work, not everyone can vividly imagine themselves. You may be better using different psychological techniques that work for you specifically, but it shouldn’t be overlooked, and if you want it to work it must be given the required time to embed itself successfully into your game.

To find out more

For more psychology resources visit psych-chek. To learn more about how you can use imagery more effectively and use it to address your other aspects of performance, take a look at this research.

“The foundation of consistency is a sound pre-shot routine.” –  Bob Rotella

With golf courses having been reopened for nearly a month now, many of us can feel the rust falling away from our golf game. We’ve seen the good, the bad, and the slice, over the past few weeks but boy does it feel good to be able to play golf in the summer sun.

As time goes on the golfer that was present before lockdown is re-emerging, which isn’t necessarily a good thing; but we’re just happy to be back playing the game we love. Since restarting play we’ve been subject to some excellent shots, some that leave a little to be desired, and if you’re anything like me, some truly horrifying shots!

But with the return of the PGA tour and world-class golf we are seeing consistency on an unrivalled level once again, leaving us in awe of their games, and striving to improve ourselves. But what techniques do the elite golfers use throughout their round to maintain high performance? Can we implement them within our own games?

Pre-shot Routines

Many elite athletes utilise pre-shot routines to prepare themselves both mentally and physically for the shot they are about to hit. These routines typically follow the same basic principles but the specifics are malleable for each athlete, and offer a chance for a level of consistency throughout your game, regardless of the shot you are faced with.

These are the key steps of an effective pre-shot routine using the specific example of a tee shot on any hole.

Readying yourself

  • This is where you mentally prepare for the shot being faced, maintaining self-confidence, emotional control and realistic expectations. For example, you’re confident you’ll hit the green on this par three, or the fairway on a longer hole.

Imaging yourself

  • Picture yourself performing the shot to the best of your ability, culminating in a successful outcome. For example, hitting a drive straight down the middle of the fairway.

Focus on the surroundings

  • Take a moment to focus on the factors in the environment which could influence your shot, such as the wind or your lie. Similarly, take time to focus on your target, for example, the middle of the green, or the pin.

During the swing

  • Whilst swinging the club, avoid excessive thoughts. Try your best to perform the shot with as little thought as possible. The few thoughts that are going through your mind should be related to the task and helpful.

Evaluating the swing and thoughts

  • After hitting the shot, take some time to assess the quality of swing execution and pre-shot routine. Taking these evaluations with you into the following shots.

As aforementioned these steps are structured in their order, but fulfilling these steps is a personal experience. Implementing this will take more than a couple of holes. I recommend playing rounds alone whilst you tailor your focus and add these steps to your own game. This can help optimise your focus, with as few distractions as possible.

 

Conclusion

In order to see the maximal benefits of a pre-shot routine you have to spend the time working on the steps, and tailoring them to your personal needs. By having a repeatable, structured routine you can offer some consistency to a sport which offers a diverse experience with every round.

By controlling the controllables you can offer yourself a more consistent, and (hopefully) enjoyable experience with lower scores as you begin to keep as much of the game under your control as possible. What more could you want as you shake off that lockdown rust?

 

To find out more

For more psychology resources visit psych-chek and to learn more about pre-shot routines take a look at these research papers which highlight the implications for coaches and how pre-shot routines have been utilised by golfers in their own games.

 “If profanity had an influence on the flight of the ball, the game of golf would be played far better than it is.” – Horace G. Hutchinson.

The year started with such optimism, not just a new year but a new decade, a clean slate, and a chance to finally cut our handicaps. But no sooner had 2020 begun, we were locked down due to COVID-19, the courses were closed, and dreams of playing on tour were dashed…

Finally, in mid-May, the restrictions were eased, courses were re-opened and the mad-dash to the first tee began. But what a lot of us, ourselves included, overlooked, was the rust that had set in over the 6 weeks. With courses opening before many ranges, people went straight to the course without so much as a practice swing expecting to play just as they had done pre-lockdown.

Golf is a game that takes time, both physically and mentally, and consciously we all know this…but somehow, just knowing it doesn’t help. So what can you do to mentally prepare for the course after a long time away?

 

Realistic Expectations

Mentally, golf can be difficult. When things don’t go your way like a missed putt, or a lost ball, it’s easy to get despondent. We easily lose focus and motivation. Therefore, it is important that during these times of rust, you take particular care of yourself (mentally) on the course to avoid falling out of love with the game you’ve waited so long to play.

It’s easy for others to say, “don’t be so hard on yourself” or “just enjoy it” but how can you help yourself? Take your time, relax and reflect after each shot. If you top one 3 yards, remember it’s been a while and you haven’t been to the range. Simply reset before your next shot. Don’t sprint to the ball and try to take the paint from the ball, be realistic with what you expect to happen, or what can happen on the course.

Similarly, if you know what you want out of golf, take the time to utilise goal setting. I’m sure you’ve all heard of it, but how many know how to effectively use it to your advantage, both short and long term?

 

Goal setting

Quite simply, goal setting is the use of attainable targets to enhance motivation, performances, or both.

A golfer commonly has one, overarching outcome goal, this is your desired end performance result in comparison to another golfer, for example, bettering your playing partners on the course. To do this, there are a set of smaller, more attainable, performance goals that should be used. These are goals about your desired performance compared to your previous performances, for example, parring a hole you bogied last time.

In order to achieve these successfully, you must focus on the processes involved. These processes are entirely under your control and help you achieve both short term performance goals and your overarching outcome goals. For example, if you want to find more fairways, you would work on your driver at the range.

Conclusion

Utilising these goals can be a simple way of helping get back into the swing of the game you love.  By setting and achieving simpler, attainable goals, you’ll break down your larger, more daunting ones, benefiting both your performances and your motivation to continue playing.

Throughout the coming months we will be providing more ways to improve your psychology both on and off the course, and hope to help you reduce your scores and increase your enjoyment.

Even if I can’t help myself…

To find out more

For more psychology resources visit psych-chek, and to learn more about the different types of goal setting this book chapter explores and breaks goals down in golf-specific settings.

This week’s blog is a guide to some of the best accommodation in Cyprus. With great weather, spectacular golf courses and fantastic deals, it comes as no surprise that Cyprus is widely considered to be an up and coming golf destination. For the perfect golf escape filled with sun, sea and golf, Cyprus is truly an unbeatable option. Whether you are looking for a luxury golf holiday at a five-star hotel, or a fantastic golf break at great value, a Cyprus has something for everyone.

First up is the Aphrodite Hills Hotel, a luxury five-star hotel located in the well-known Aphrodite Hills Resort. The Aphrodite Hills Hotel is the perfect choice for all those looking to make their next golf holiday their most luxurious yet; the hotel is undeniably five-star in every aspect, ranging from its facilities, service, and guest rooms. The hotel is set in arm’s reach of the centre of Paphos, one of Cyprus’s key destinations. Conveniently for all guests here who are looking to visit the stunning sandy beach or have a fun evening out, the hotel runs a complimentary shuttle service into the centre of Paphos. Therefore, guests can enjoy the best of both worlds here; they are set in an idyllic position on a plateau overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, but they can also easily venture into the nearby town to do a spot of exploring. The Aphrodite Hills Hotel is not just perfectly located for guests to make the most out of Cyprus’s best towns and beaches; it is also perfectly positioned for guests to enjoy some of the area’s best golf courses. The Aphrodite Hills Hotel neighbours one of Cyprus’s best golf courses, the Aphrodite Hills, PGA National Cyprus, so a fantastic round of golf is never in far reach from guests at the hotel. Even for non-golfers, the Aphrodite Hills Hotel has plenty of things to do and see; the Aphrodite Hills Hotel is home to one of the best spa centres on the island, so guests here are never without an opportunity to indulge and relax. Alternatively, the more active guest can head to the Aphrodite Hills Tennis Academy for a leisurely game of tennis or some private tuition.

Alternatively, for all those looking for the same standards of accommodation as the five-star Aphrodite Hills Hotel but with a self-catering accommodation option, the Aphrodite Hills Holiday Residences is a great choice. The Aphrodite Hills Residences neighbours the Aphrodite Hills Hotel in the Aphrodite Hills Resort located in the outskirts of Paphos, so guests can enjoy a wonderfully relaxing golf holiday in an idyllic spot overlooking the sea, but they can easily travel into the centre of town if they are looking to explore the local area. The Aphrodite Hills Residences comprises of a range of luxury villas and apartments, all of which are very spacious in their design with all of the necessary essentials to ensure that all guests have an unbeatable stay. A self-catering golf holiday is a perfect choice for all those looking to have a relaxing stay without the need to always have to find somewhere to eat; even if guests find themselves looking for an evening off of cooking duty, they can simply head into the centre of Paphos where they will find a huge range of bars and restaurants to enjoy some authentic Cypriot food. Guests staying in the Aphrodite Hills Residences are never without an opportunity to appreciate the resort’s stunning setting from their own private balcony or terrace which overlooks the neighbouring Aphrodite Hills, PGA National Cyprus, or the Mediterranean Sea. All of the accommodation here, whether guests choose to stay in a spacious luxury villa or a modern apartment, come fully furnished with fully equipped kitchens, a seating area, en suite bathrooms, and the villas come with their own spacious outdoor swimming pools.

Yet another fantastic accommodation option for your next golf holiday in Cyprus is the Thanos Almyra Hotel, yet another superb five-star hotel located in the vibrant and charming town of Paphos. Guests at the Thanos Almyra Hotel truly could not be in a better position to make the most out of all the region has to offer; the hotel faces a long stretch of Blue Flag status beach, so guests here are never without an opportunity to make the most out of one of Cyprus’s beautiful beaches. For an afternoon of exploring or a fun evening out, guests can walk a few minutes down the road into the centre of Paphos where they will find a great range of bars, shops and restaurants. While the location of the Thanos Almyra Hotel is undeniably a key selling point, positioned just a stone’s throw away from a beautiful beach and the centre of Paphos, the entire hotel has very recently undergone a four-million-euro complete renovation, meaning all of the guest rooms, public areas and facilities have been refurbished to the highest standard. The new décor in guest rooms mirrors the hotel’s coastal setting with light and modern furnishings, and as many of the guest rooms face the Mediterranean Sea, guests can easily appreciate the hotel’s stunning setting from their own private balcony or terrace. As the Thanos Almyra Hotel has just 187 guest rooms, guests can enjoy personalised service from staff to help them have their most relaxing golf holiday to date. When guests have had enough of relaxing and want to seek an opportunity to set their hearts racing and their temper rising, then they can just visit one of the many spectacular golf courses surrounding the Thanos Almyra Hotel; the Aphrodite Hills Golf Club, PGA National, Minthis Golf Club and the Elea Golf Club are all located within a twenty-minute drive of the hotel.

The high standards and quality of the Thanos brand is consistent across all of its hotels, including the Thanos Hotel Annabelle. The hotel is ideally located for all of its guests to enjoy the best of all worlds on their golf holiday; the Thanos Hotel Annabelle is set just a stone’s throw away from the centre of Paphos, a beautiful sandy beach, and the Paphos harbour is also just a few minutes away on foot. During the day, guests at the hotel can enjoy a gruelling round of golf on either the Aphrodite Hills, Elea Golf Club, Minthis Golf Club or the Secret Valley, then enjoy a spot of lunch at the Paphos harbour. While the centre of Paphos is home to a host of different bars and restaurants to suit every preference and budget, the Thanos Hotel Annabelle is home to four different restaurants and five bars, so guests are never without choice if they choose, they want to stay local in the evening. Even for non-golfers, the Thanos Hotel Annabelle has plenty of options to offer its guests, even when they are taking a break from lounging on the nearby beach or exploring the vibrant town of Paphos. Guests at the Thanos Hotel Annabelle can enjoy an unbeatably relaxing golf break as the hotel is set in six acres of tropical gardens facing the sea, views of which can be enjoyed from all of its guest rooms. However, once guests have had enough of some ‘R and R’, they can enjoy a range of water sports on offer at the local beach, or the can even head to the hotel’s comprehensive spa centre for a well-deserved massage or treatment.

Another spectacular five-star luxury hotel in Cyprus is the Olympic Lagoon Hotel; with great facilities, impeccable service and an unbeatable location, you could not find a better base for your next golf holiday in Cyprus. At the Olympic Lagoon Hotel, guests are just a stone’s throw away from a beautiful white sandy beach and the centre of Paphos. Guests at the Olympic Lagoon Hotel are guaranteed a fantastic stay here in the newly renovated guest rooms and refurbished facilities. Due to its excellent location and facilities, the Olympic Lagoon Hotel would not just be a great choice for a golf holiday with lots of friends; it would also be a great choice for a relaxing couple’s getaway or a family holiday. The hotel is home to a host of facilities to keep every member of the family entertained; the children can head to the hotel’s children’s club, or to enjoy some well-deserved ‘R and R’, guests can head to the comprehensive spa facility. Furthermore, as the Olympic Lagoon Hotel offers a superb all-inclusive accommodation option, guests can indulge all they wish on their golf break without the worry of a hefty bill at the end of their stay. While the hotel is just a short distance into the centre of the lively centre of Paphos, the hotel itself has plenty of options should guests choose to stay local and make the most out of the all-inclusive option; the Olympic Lagoon Hotel is home to five excellent restaurants and five bars to suit all tastes and occasions.

At the Alexander the Great Beach Hotel, guests could truly not be in a better position to make the most out of all that Paphos has to offer. Whether golfers are looking to challenge the greens of the best golf courses in Cyprus, catch a tan on the neighbouring Blue Flag beach, or grab a spot of lunch in the centre of Paphos. Just a five-minute walk down from the hotel takes guests to the harbour where they will find a great range of bars, restaurants and shops to enjoy a relaxing afternoon. Guests are never without an opportunity to make the most out of the hotel’s beautiful coastal setting as most of the 202 guest rooms here include full or partial sea views which can be admired from a private balcony or terrace. The Alexander the Great Beach Hotel is the ideal choice for couples and golfers looking for a fantastic beach holiday with all a good dose of luxury and elegance; the service at the hotel is unbeatable, there are loads of facilities to keep all guests entertained, and the guest rooms are especially modern and spacious, even for a luxury hotel. To relax after a gruelling round of golf on either the Elea Golf Club, the Aphrodite Hills, PGA National Cyprus or the Secret Valley, guests can lounge around one of the two outdoor swimming pools or head to the hotel spa.

Last but not least is the Dionysos Central, a centrally located three-star hotel which offers golfers superb value for money. The hotel is positioned in the heart of the Paphos resort, meaning a fun evening out or an afternoon of exploring is always on the cards. The Dionysos Central has everything a golfer could possibly want for an unbeatable golf escape in Cyprus; the hotel is situated just a stone’s throw away from town and the beach, the staff are committed to ensuring guests have a comfortable stay, and there is a good range of facilities to preoccupy guests while they are taking a break from the local beach or challenging the local golf courses. The hotel offers guests to make the most out of both worlds; guests will find themselves positioned sufficiently far away from the centre of town so they can avoid all of the hustle and bustle and enjoy some well-deserved tranquillity, but they are also just a short walk to the harbour for a spot of light lunch or a fun evening out. If guests want to take a break from relaxing at one of the local beaches, they can head to the outdoor swimming pool, or enjoy a drink at the pool bar. However, if golfers want to dedicate their holiday to exploring all of the fantastic golf on offer, then the Dionysos Central is the perfect hotel for them; four of the region’s best golf courses are located within a half an hour drive away from the hotel.

We hope that you have enjoyed this week’s blog on some of the best hotels and resorts in Cyprus. With such a great range of hotels, Cyprus should undoubtedly be a strong contender for your next luxury golf holiday. Home to spectacular golf courses, beautiful beaches and a warm climate, it has everything a golfer could ever need for an unforgettable golf escape.

This week’s blog is a guide to the four courses of Cyprus. In recent years, Cyprus has gained a brilliant reputation for being a superb golf break destination. Many players will return year after year to enjoy the luxurious hotels and great golf courses – make sure that you get a piece of that luxury by booking your next golf escape to Cyprus today.

 

Cyprus boasts a rich history, culture and a mild, year-round climate which makes it the ideal place for a golf escape. Whether you are travelling with golfers or non-golfers, everyone will find something enjoyable to do whether it is lying on one of the sandy beaches, visiting historical sites or taking part in the many leisure activities found within the different resorts. In Paphos, you can find a beautiful harbour situated to the south of the country, there is plenty to do here and some beautiful bars and restaurants to enjoy. There is no doubt that a golf escape to Cyprus would be an enjoyable one so take a look at these brilliant courses and the resorts associated with them – or you can just give us a call and we will sort you a great golf holiday.

 

First up, we have Aphrodite Hills, PGA National Cyprus which is situated in South Cyprus, the course opened for play in 2002 and was designed by the world-renowned golf architect, Cabell Robinson. The course is situated within the Aphrodite Hills Resort which is the largest golf resort in Cyprus and boasts a hotel, apartments and villas for guests. The course is a great mix of challenging pot bunkers, beautifully manicured fairways of Bermuda grass and generous, tiered greens. As you play, you wind your way through olive and carob trees, and you can enjoy stunning views over the Mediterranean Sea.

Whilst the trees add to the scenery, they can pose a threat to your game as they are lying in wait for any errant shots. There are some truly magnificent holes along the course including the 3rd hole which is the lengthiest and most challenging hole along the course. For most players, you can play this hole as an uphill par 4 but for those more experienced players, you can play the hole as a par 5 from the back tees.

 

The 7th hole is another outstanding hole, it is a stunning par 3 where the green is positioned so that you must make a long carry over the ravine. The signature hole of the course is the 8th which boasts a panoramic view of the ocean from the tee, this is a breath-taking hole and is not one to miss out on!

 

Of course, if you are looking to play this great course, you should take a look at some of the accommodation options for you. The Aphrodite Hills Hotel is a five-star hotel which boasts luxurious rooms, brilliant leisure facilities and world-class service. The hotel also boasts three fantastic restaurants where you can find delicious Asian cuisine, authentic Mediterranean cuisine and a buffet restaurant. Each of the rooms is beautifully decorated and boasts beautiful views of the neighbouring golf course, the sea, pool or the garden. You can choose to upgrade to a suite which are perfect for young families. There are many leisure activities that you can enjoy during your stay including the fitness centre, the tennis courts and a spacious pool area with sun beds. You can enjoy a range of health and beauty treatments within the Retreat Spa.

 

Alternatively, you can enjoy a stay within Aphrodite Hills Residences where you can choose from a range of accommodation from luxury apartments to five bedrooms villas. Each accommodation option comes with a fully-equipped kitchen as well as a private terrace or balcony. You can opt for villas that sleep up to 10 people, these five-bedroom villas boast their own private swimming pool. Whilst you are staying within the Residences, you can self-cater, but you can also enjoy all of the restaurants and bars within the Hotel and across the Resort. You can also make use of all of the leisure facilities that guests from the Hotel have access to, including the spa. One of the best things about Aphrodite Hills Resort, regardless of where you choose to stay, is that the resort provides frequent shuttle buses to and from the town of Paphos where you can find a range of superb bars and restaurants as well as a lovely harbour to walk around. For your next golf break to Cyprus – look no further than a stay at Aphrodite Hills Resort and a round on the PGA National.

 

Elea Golf Club is a brilliant par 71 golf course situated in an idyllic location above the Mediterranean Sea. The course boasts a stunning landscape and has been beautifully carved through a dramatic terrain which is full of character. The course was designed with input from Sir Nick Faldo and boasts many distinctive features typical of his designs. There is no doubt that this course poses a stern test of golf, there is an array of hazards situated along the course waiting to damage your scorecard. However, although the course is full of hazards, the more amateur golfer can enjoy this stunning course, too.

 

There is no doubt that this is a testing round of golf, every skill that you have developed as a golfer will be tested during this round. The course is considered to be an iconic parkland course in Cyprus but there is a links-feel to many of the holes due to their generous fairways and Arizona-style areas of wasteland.

The par 4 4th hole is perhaps the most outrageously bunkered hole in Europe, two irregularly shaped bunkers must be avoided from the tee in order to find sanctuary on the fairway, there is then the bridged green that slopes up at the front and then cants away towards the back – this green is heavily protected to the left and right by bunkers. The course’s signature hole is considered to be the par 4 17th hole. This hole has been nicknamed “Bobby Jones”, again, this is another hole which features lots of bunkers but also, a severely sloping fairway. You may be pleased to know that there are three bunker-less holes along the course! This is a superb golf course and one that you can enjoy whilst staying at the Aphrodite Hills Resort – either in the Hotel or in the Residences.

 

Next up, we have the par 71 18-hole championship course at Secret Valley which is uniquely situated at the base of a long valley that extends right out to the Mediterranean Sea. The course is situated just 18km from the lively resort of Paphos and opened for play in 1996.

 

Secret Valley is a two-time winner of the Best Golf Course in Cyprus and it isn’t hard to see why. The course winds its way through a spectacular valley consisting of distinctive coloured Sty Kingly rock formations. In the mornings and the evenings, you can enjoy some beautiful sights created by the shadows – another good thing about playing during the mornings and the evenings is that you can avoid the burning heat of the day.

The front nine holes of the course are quite forgiving, but you must bring your best game with you if you are to score well on the back nine. As they boast different layouts, and their own distinctive features, you are set to have an excellent round of golf filled with varied play. With an array of hazards set along the course in order to challenge your scorecard, a stunning location with a beautiful setting, it is no surprise that this course is so highly recommended for your next golf break to Cyprus. Enjoy a stay at the Aphrodite Hills Hotel or within the Aphrodite Hills Residences as you can easily venture out to play a round here or at the other golf courses in the area, including the PGA National onsite of the Aphrodite Hills Resort.

 

Last, but certainly not least, is Minthis Golf Club. Minthis Golf Club is situated on an elevated position of 550 metres above sea level which means that even during the summer months, you can enjoy a refreshing sea breeze. The course was designed by Donald Steel and it blends effortlessly into its beautiful surroundings, it is no surprise that this course is a favourite amongst golfers.

 

The course measures to just under 600 metres long and plays to a par 71. Due to the range of tee options, this course is suitable for golfers of all levels which makes it a perfect holiday course. However, this does not mean that you won’t find it a challenge. A unique feature of the club is the fact that it boasts captivating views over a 12th century monastery and the nearby Troodos Mountains. Of course, due to its position, there is the sea breeze coming into play which can make things difficult and may cause a few wayward shots! This is a fantastic course filled with a variety of holes, you can enjoy the short par 4 12th hole which boasts a steep, hazardous valley off on the left. This is followed by the signature 13th hole which is a challenging par 3, it is impossible to convey how brilliant this hole – it is one that you must try out for yourself – but it does include an island green surrounded by hazardous water.

If you are looking to play a round or two at Minthis Golf Club, we highly recommend you stay at the Dionysos Central. This three-star property is situated in the heart of the resort town of Paphos. It is a great value properly just a short walk from the beach and the harbour as well as range of great bars and restaurants. This is ideal if you are looking to stay in the midst of the action, you can enjoy the vibrant nightlife and attractions within the town, but you can also take a short walk to the lovely beaches. The rooms within the hotel offer the essential amenities for your stay including a mini fridge, a satellite TV, complimentary Wi-Fi and a safe as well as a private balcony. You can enjoy lounging around the hotel’s large outdoor pool and take advantage of the hotel’s evening entertainment. There are three restaurants and two bars within the hotel, and you can easily venture out of the hotel to the other restaurants and bars of Paphos.

 

We hope that you have enjoyed this week’s blog and that you will take a further look at these outstanding golf courses and the resorts that you could have the pleasure of staying within. Give us a call if you have any questions or queries, we can always tailor make a golf break suited perfectly to you and whoever you are travelling with.

Many discerning golfers also love delicious wines and this blog is a guide to our top five destinations for a wine and golf tour. Now that we are in 2019, it is time to start thinking about your next golf break and one of these destinations may just be perfect for you.

The five-star Hotel Peralada Wine Spa and Golf boasts a brilliant location situated in the heart of the Alt Emporda region. The hotel is surrounded by the brilliant Peralada golf course which is a popular course among holiday golfers as it isn’t overly long but boasts some unique and challenging holes along the course. The 18th is a particularly special hole as it is a long par-3 over water which has been known to ruin a few scorecards! Not only is the hotel perfect for golf, but also for exploring the local area as there are some of the best beaches in the Costa Brava region within 15-minute drive.

There are just 64 guestrooms within the hotel and all of them are modern and feature bright décor as well as all of the amenities and facilities that you would expect from a hotel of this standard including plasma-screen TVs and free Wi-Fi access. Besides playing on the brilliant Peralada course, you can work out in the gym, relax in the wine spa which offers a range of treatments or relax around the hotel’s outdoor pool. Guests within the hotel also have complimentary access to the casino which is situated in the medieval Peralada Castle just 800 metres from the resort. The hotel’s restaurant, Restaurant l’Olivera boasts an extensive menu filled with delicious Mediterranean cuisine and magnificent views over the golf course. Within the restaurant, you can also enjoy beautiful wines from the region and abroad which perfectly compliment your meals. Hotel Peralada Wine Spa and Golf is a beautifully well-appointed boutique hotel situated in the heart of the Costa Brava which makes it the perfect base for your next golf escape.

 

Another recommendation for your next wine and golf tour would be Fancourt. You can choose between staying in the Manor House or the Fancourt Hotel but whichever you choose, you will have easy access to the three fantastic Fancourt golf courses as well as beautiful South African wines. The resort boasts four different restaurants which serve international cuisine made from fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. The hotel also boasts a bar that offers regional wines and a spacious garden terrace. Whilst you are staying at either property on the resort, you can enjoy activities such as tennis, running and walking trails, bird watching and fishing.

The five-star Manor House is set on the 1,500-acre Fancourt Estate and was remodelled to create a boutique hotel which is a beautifully luxurious space for couples, families or small groups to enjoy. The Manor House boasts a garden and terrace on which you can enjoy a few glasses of wine and enjoy the views.

 

The five-star Fancourt Hotel boasts luxurious accommodation, a wellness centre and elegant guest rooms which boast beautiful views of the Outeniqua Mountains. All of the rooms boast a minibar and a satellite TV as well as free toiletries and a private bathroom.  The hotel’s spa features an indoor heated Roman Bath as well as a leisure centre where you can find a kid’s club, a fitness centre, a cinema and an outdoor swimming pool.

The three golf courses situated at the Fancourt Resort are the main reason for you to choose this resort for your next golf holiday and it isn’t hard to see why. The Fancourt Links course is a prime example of a magnificently designed golf course and is undoubtedly the most impressive course in South Africa. This course frequently ranks as one of the top courses and it isn’t hard to see why. The Montagu course is beautifully landscape across lush countryside with the majestic Outeniqua Mountains as the backdrop and both this course and the Outeniqua courses also rank highly in the world rankings of golf courses.

 

With three superb golf courses, extensive leisure facilities, world-class restaurant and special surroundings, what more could you be looking for for your next golf break?

 

The five-star Vidago Palace is situated just an hour from the centre of the city of Porto and five minutes’ drive from the centre of Vidago. The hotel is surrounded by beautiful scenery and the hotel itself is the perfect blend between the Belle Epoque style and modern luxury. Whilst you are here, you can enjoy relaxing around the vanity pool, in the extensive spa or play a round on the fantastic Vidago Palace Golf Course. Within the spa, you can find indoor and outdoor swimming pools, vitality pool, a Turkish bath, a sauna, relaxation rooms, a juice bar and a gym as well as twenty different treatment rooms.

All of the rooms within the hotel boast essential amenities and facilities including LCD TVs and work desks as well as spacious seating areas and beautiful ensuite bathrooms. There are four different restaurants within the hotel, including the stylish main restaurant, a spa bar and the poolside bar and grill. For you wine lovers, you can enjoy the most famous export wine from Vidago’s wine cellar.

Of course, the main attraction at Vidago Palace is the very special Vidago Palace Golf. The course reopened in 2010 after extensive remodelling as a new, 18-hole championship golf course. The course has retained many original elements from the parkland holes and there are newer holes which have been carved through the valley. This course is the perfect blend of its original design and new, modern design. The greens were enlarged during the remodel and have been reshaped to USGA standards. Throughout the course, you can enjoy stunning scenery and four different tee positions from different heights as well as lengths to make sure that this course can be enjoyed by all golfers!

If you are looking for a special golf escape to Portugal where you can enjoy delicious food and wine, play a few rounds on a fantastic golf course and enjoy extensive facilities within the hotel then look no further than Vidago Palace. It is no surprise that this fantastic hotel made our list of recommendations for your next golf and wine tour…

 

Situated in the stunning region of Bordeaux is the new luxurious Golf du Medoc Hotel. The hotel is located within 200 acres of French countryside situated just outside of the city of Bordeaux and features two brilliant golf courses onsite. It is no surprise that this resort is considered to be one of the most renowned golfing destinations in France and is the perfect place for you to enjoy wonderful golf and wine in this wine producing region.

The hotel offers beautiful four-star accommodation which is set opposite the two 18-hole golf courses. Each of the 79 rooms and suites are decorated in natural tones and boast complimentary Wi-Fi, air conditioning, flat-screen TV, a minibar, a safe and a hairdryer. Within the hotel, you can find extensive spa facilities which include an indoor heated swimming pool, a Hamman, a fitness centre and beauty treatments including reflexology.

 

You can find two different restaurants within the hotel; La Table du Medoc serves gourmet cuisine and boasts a very impressive wine list whilst Le Club serves a variety of snacks and is situated by the golf courses – perfect for a post-round snack. Besides the great wine, the two golf courses are the most impressive thing about the Golf du Medoc Hotel and it isn’t hard to see why.

Les Chateaux is the bigger course of the two and is highly regarded as being one of the best courses in France and has been awarded titles such as “The Best Course in France” in both 2014 and 2016 at the World Golf Awards. The course spans over 6,900 yards of French countryside and boasts large fairways and extreme rough areas. The idea of the course was to incorporate the best of the Bordeaux region and this course has not disappointed. This is a captivating golfing experience with heather-lined fairways, immaculate greens and strong, coastal breezes to pose a stern challenge to golfers of all abilities. A fantastic course that will require you to use every club in your bag.

The other course situated at this brilliant golfing resort is the Les Vignes course. This superb course was created in 1991 and has been embedded into the landscape of this stunning, wine-producing region. The course is of similar length to its sister course at just over 6,800 yards and boasts plenty of long pars which are finished with immaculate, fast-paced greens which are almost always surrounded by strategically-placed obstacles. Much like its sister course, a round on this course will challenge your consistency and will provide you with an exciting round from start to finish.

A stay at the Golf du Medoc resort is a perfect choice for golf and wine lovers alike.

Our final suggestion for your next wine and golf tour is a stay within the Lisbon region. Lisbon is the stunning capital city of Portugal and is considered to be one of the most vibrant and historic cities in Europe. You can find brilliant hotels and even better golf at Lisbon Sports Club within the area or, if you are happy to stay outside of the city you can venture up to the Obidos region. Of course, as a capital city, you can find an abundance of brilliant restaurants and bars where you can sample some exquisite food and drink, including very special wines.

 

Lisbon Sports Club was designed by Hawtree and Sons and is a charming 18-hole parkland course which is situated just outside the greater Lisbon area just 20 minutes from the city centre. This is a perfect course for you to play either when you just arrive or right before you fly home as it is situated just a short drive from Lisbon airport. The course is a short one at just under 5,300 metres off the back tees, so it is suitable for those looking for a great, holiday-style course which is playable by golfers of all abilities. There is a stream running through the course which comes in to play on 12 of the 18 holes but otherwise, this is a friendly course with lovely scenery and a great location.

Venturing out of the city, you can explore all areas of the Lisbon region including the Estoril, Sintra and Cascais triangles on the coast to the northwest and on the south, you can find several brilliant courses on the Costa Azul. An hour to the north, you can find Praia d’el Rey and Royal Obidos.

The key golfing areas include Obidos and Cascais. Obidos is widely considered to be one of the most picturesque towns in Portugal and boasts beautiful resorts and courses. The Royal Obidos course is a very special course with unique and challenging holes right from the first one. The second nine holes lie in the central and southern section of the development and six of them meander between an intricate ecosystem of lakes which are interconnected by cascading streams. Also, north of Lisbon, is Praia d’el Rey which is one of Europe’s finest courses, this classic links course is spread over dunes and cliffs with pines inland which are lying in wait to collect any errant shots. This course is a real test of golf to even the most discerning golfers and it is no surprise that we recommend this course to any travelling t the Lisbon region. No matter where you choose to holiday within the Lisbon region, you can find great wine, great golf and great weather and culture.

We hope that you have enjoyed this week’s blog and that next time you are thinking about booking a golf holiday, you think of the great golf and wine that you could enjoy if you choose one of these resorts or destinations for your next golf escape.